Scilla peruviana, the Portuguese squill, is a species of Scilla native to the western Mediterranean region in Iberia, Italy, and northwest Africa. It is a bulb-bearing herbaceous perennial plant. The bulb is 6–8 cm in diameter, white with a covering of brown scales. The leaves are linear, 20–60 cm long and 1–4 cm broad, with 5-15 leaves produced each spring. The flowering stem is 15–40 cm tall, bearing a dense pyramidal raceme of 40-100 flowers; each flower is blue, 1–2 cm in diameter, with six tepals. The foliage dies down in summer, re-appearing in the autumn.
Although the epithet peruviana means "from Peru", it is strictly a western Mediterranean species. Linnaeus named the species in 1753, citing an earlier name given to the plant by Carolus Clusius, Hyacinthus stellatus peruanus. Clusius mentioned the species as growing in the Antwerp garden of a certain Everardus Munichoven, who reportedly got the plants from Peru. The error was already mentioned in 1804 in Curtis's Botanical Magazine. There is no reliable source for the story about a ship named 'Peru', shipping plants from Spain to Northern Europe, misleading Clusius or Linnaeus into giving the erroneous name.
Cultivation and usesEdit
It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant for its spring flowers; several cultivars are available ranging in colour from white to light or dark blue, or violet. In some areas it is also known as hyacinth-of-Peru, Cuban-lily, or Peruvian scilla.
- "Scilla peruviana L." Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
- BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- "Scilla peruviana". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- Linnaeus, C. (1753). Species Plantarum. Vol. 1. Stockholm: Laurentius Salvius. p. 309.
- Clusius, C. (1601). Rariorum plantarum historia. Antwerp: Plantijn Moretus. p. 182.
Clusius writes: Primum autem locum merito sibi vindicabit elegant et rarissimus ille, quem, ex Peruano orbe delatum, in suo horto alebat Everardus Munichoven et florentem suis coloribus exprimi curabat. A French translation of it is to be found here: Cette [Hyacinthus] élégante et très rare, rapportée de la région du Pérou, que cultivait dans son jardin Everard de Munich[oven] (à qui cette étude tient à coeur) et qu'il soignait en fleurs pour ses couleurs parmi les plus belles.
- Sims, J., ed. (1804). "Scilla peruviana". Curtis's Botanical Magazine. 20: 749.
- O'Hara, S.A. (2019). "What's in a Name – Scilla peruviana". Website California Horticultural Society.
- "All about Scilla peruviana". Longfield Gardens. Retrieved 30 May 2021.